By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and the Africa Health Budget Network, (AHBN) harped on importance of media engagements to promote the health sector and cement relationship between the media and relevant stakeholders.

Specifically, the Director of Family Health, Dr Salma Ibrahim Anas in her welcome remark at a One Day Meeting to Sensitize Media Sector on Operationalisation of Media Engagement Strategy for Health Promotion in Nigeria 2021 to 2025 in Abuja, averred that the use of social media has brought about the spread of misinformation on public health issues and prompted the need to work on the health and media sector engagement.

Represented by the Head of Health Promotion Division, Bako Aiyegbusi, the director explained that the Family Health Department, Health Promotion Division in collaboration with key actors in the media sector, has developed the maiden Media Engagement Strategy for Health Promotion in Nigeria, from 2021 to 2025.

She explained that this was in order to highlight what was needed to be done by the media in creating visibility for the ministry’s activities.

“The media engagement was aimed at sourcing for avenues for media reportage of health activities as the critical role of the media in creating awareness on issues of public interest cannot be overemphasized.

“The strategy aims to provide a guideline on how the Health sector will work effectively with the Media sector to increase awareness and reportage of Reproductive Maternal New-born Child Adolescent and Elderly Health plus Nutrition, and other essential health services at both the Federal and Sub-national levels”.

Anas noted that this can only be achieved if health promotion interventions are directed at improving health literacy and promotion of healthy choices.

Meanwhile, the Director Health Promotion Division, Mrs Bako Aiyegbusi, who gave the overview, disclosed that, “health promotion is about enabling people to increase control and giving them an opportunity to improve their health.

“The emergence of social media misinformation and fake news on public health issues further justify the need to clearly define the Modus Operandi of the health and media sector engagement.

“According to Internet world stats, as of March 2020, the number of Internet users had increased to 91.6 million with Nigeria occupying the 6th highest number of Internet users across the globe.”

Also speaking, the Coordinator of AHBN, Dr. Aminu Magashi said the Media Engagement Strategy for Health Promotion in Nigeria will help to boost the much needed health literacy among Nigerians.

Represented by the Senior Programme and Partnership Officer at AHBN, Dr. Obinna Onuoha stressed that the coalition has birthed the much needed synergy between the Ministry of Health and the Media to promote Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Childhood, Adolescent and the Elderly Health plus Nutrition, RMNCAEH+N policies and programmes.

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